Anandamide Supplements


Fact Checked

Written by James Dixon

Anandamide is a little-known chemical that may have a really dramatic impact on your sense of wellbeing. It’s a neurotransmitter – a messenger in your brain – that binds to the brain and body’s cannabinoid receptors. In doing so, it creates an overall sense of wellbeing and happiness.

Many people know it as the ‘bliss molecule’. In fact, its name is derived from the word Ananda, Sanskrit for happiness, joy, or pleasure.

Its impact doesn’t end there, however. There are several mechanisms through which it can boost your overall health and mental wellbeing.

As it binds to your cannabinoid receptors, which are the receptors that the central psychoactive compound in marijuana binds to, you may assume that you can only really manipulate anandamide by using cannabis. Though cannabis use will indeed increase your anandamide levels, it’s far from the only way of doing so. There are even some anandamide supplements to help with this.

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An All Round Cognitive Boost

NooCube is our no.1 rated nootropic when testing a wide range of supplements linked to cognition and anxiety relief. It should also help to improve anandamide levels thanks to the natural ingredients it contains.

Read on to find out why anandamide is so important and how you can boost your levels naturally through diet and lifestyle.

Anandamide 101

So what exactly is anandamide? In brief, it is a neurotransmitter, as above, created from arachidonic acid, which is a long-chain essential fatty acid. It is one of the more important endocannabinoids.

Endocannabinoids are produced within the body and bind to cannabinoid receptors.

Scientists found it whilst looking into THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, which is cannabis’ key psychoactive component. THC receptors were found in the human brain, which initially puzzled researchers. Why would we naturally have developed them? There was a missing link.

Anandamide structure

This missing link was anandamide, which binds to these otherwise seemingly superfluous receptors. When it was discovered, researchers decided to search more thoroughly for cannabinoid receptors in the human brain and body. It turned out that we are chock full of them.

They are very widely spread throughout our bodies, as well as existing in multiple regions of the human brain.

For example, researchers have found them in the central nervous system, liver, kidneys, lungs, spleen, reproductive organs, the gastrointestinal and urinary tracts, and even in white blood cells.

Due to the widespread nature of cannabinoid receptors, anandamide has plenty of effects.

Its effects all told are also incredibly profound. Anandamide plays plenty of disparate roles, including in memory, sleep, pain relief, and appetite.

The endocannabinoid system (the sum total of endocannabinoid compounds and their receptors) works as something of a regulator, helping to keep the body and brain in homeostasis, a state of balance.

Conversely, an anandamide deficiency may be at the heart of many conditions. Some researchers have posited that it may be a root cause for a wide range of chronic conditions including depression, recurring migraines, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, and even certain neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s.

There is even tentative data suggesting that anandamide can suppress cancerous cell production.

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    The Benefits of Anandamide

    As you can see, then, there are some fantastic benefits to be gained from optimizing anandamide levels. There are plenty of physical benefits, as mentioned above. However, mostly anandamide is known for the profound mental health benefits that it offers – it is called the ‘bliss molecule’, after all.

    Because of this, low or even sub-optimal levels of anandamide in your system can lead to a lack of happiness and contentment, an increase in feelings of anxiety and fear, and heighten perceptions and symptoms of stress to often unmanageable levels.

    Hence the endocannabinoid system, including anandamide, represents a major new avenue of research for those looking to treat or diminish symptoms of depression, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), and even post-traumatic stress disorder – all psychiatric diseases with close ties to stress.

    Current research suggests that inhibiting FAAH (fatty acid amide hydrolase) may help in treating symptoms of cognitive dysfunction, anxiety disorders, drug addiction, and traumatic stress. FAAH is an enzyme that breaks down anandamide, making it available in far smaller quantities. Inhibiting it should raise the amount of anandamide left in your system.

    Anandamide & The Happiness Gene

    It’s long been known that certain cultures and peoples have different happiness levels. Though cultural factors do indeed play a part, modern researchers postulate that there may also be a genetic factor at play. Our genetic makeup can affect our anandamide levels.

    Specifically, there is a direct link between the gene variant rs324420 and anandamide levels. It inhibits levels of FAAH, which as we saw above breaks anandamide down. The presence of gene variant rs324420 is therefore highly correlated with anandamide levels, which in turn is highly correlated with happiness levels.

    Cultures in which citizens tend to rate themselves as very happy also tend to see more gene variant rs324420 in their populations.

    Geographical areas where we tend to see this occurring include parts of western Africa, northern Europe, and northern Latin America. The converse can be seen in areas of eastern Asia and the Middle East – here, we see depleted levels of gene variant rs324420, lower levels of anandamide, and lower levels of self reported happiness.

    External Factors Affecting Anandamide Levels

    Not everything is so open to fate, however. There are plenty of factors outside of your genetic makeup that can manipulate anandamide levels; there are plenty of external contributors you can make the most of to improve your happiness and wellbeing by boosting your levels.

    Cannabis, Anandamide & Memory

    For instance, a link has been found between cannabis use and anandamide levels. The link also extends to memory, flagging up a strong correlation between the three.

    This is due to anandamide’s role in memory production. It plays a key role in memory consolidation. With this in mind, researchers have looked at the possible effects of marijuana use on mental decline, specifically those whose work focusses on neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.

    Stimulating your brain’s cannabis receptors with anandamide can protect your brain against inflammation – thought to be a leading cause of cognitive decline – and stroke. Though cannabis use is known to impair memory formation in youth, in later life its anti-inflammatory properties can protect against cognitive decline and even inspire new brain cell formation.

    You don’t need much, either. Just a small dose of cannabis – ‘one puff’ – can noticeably improve memory in older adults.

    Foods Containing Anandamide

    You can eat to be healthy and happy. We’ve known this for a long time. In some cases, this is because certain foods can increase anandamide production. Though there are only a couple that are known to do so, they are common enough and tasty enough that including them in your diet should be no real chore.


    Firstly, and happily, chocolate is one of the main anandamide-boosting foodstuffs out there. It really does make you happier. Chocolate actually contains over 1,500 known biochemicals. These include the likes of tryptophan, serotonin, caffeine, phenethylamine, and theobromine, all of which can improve your mood. It will make you happier regardless of anandamide…

    Except that it also contains plenty of anandamide. And it also contains compounds like it that can inhibit anandamide’s break down and can inspire your brain to naturally create more anandamide. Some researchers even postulate that this might be behind chocolate’s almost addictive nature.

    All taken together, these chemicals should cheer you up a great deal. However, the sugar found in most commercial forms of chocolate make it unsuitable for a healthy diet in the long run. Adulterated chocolate will also be less potent. Therefore, try to go for as pure a form as you can manage, reaching for cocoa powder and cacao nibs rather than sugar-laden chocolate bars.

    Secondly, black truffles also deliver plenty of anandamide. Botanical name tuber malanosporum, black truffles are fungi native to France, Italy and Spain. They typically grow under deciduous trees, most notably oaks. Truffle hunters traditionally used pigs to unearth truffles buried underground, though these days dogs are typically used – they are less destructive and far less likely to eat the valuable truffles!

    Dogs and pigs are particularly good at rooting truffles out likely because they have plenty of anandamide receptors. This leads them to hunting with great gusto.

    However, black truffles are a delicacy. Though cheaper than white truffles, they are prohibitively expensive, still being one of the priciest foodstuffs in the world. An ounce will set you back about twenty bucks.

    It’s therefore a good idea to go with chocolate – your credit card statements will look a lot better for it.

    Other Dietary Hacks

    Though no other foods are known for explicitly delivering exogenous anandamide, there are still a few ingredients out there that may help to spike your body’s natural levels. They are worth including in any dietary protocol, especially if you feel you need a bit of a mood boost.

    Pepper is a good bet. Both black pepper (piper nigrum) and spicy long peppers (piper longum) contain plenty of guineensine. This compound increases anandamide activity in your body.

    Then there is anything containing the compound kaempferol. Kaempferol is a flavonoid, a natural compound sourced from plants. Specifically, kaempferol can inhibit FAAH production. As we have seen, FAAH breaks anandamide down. Less FAAH generally equates to more anandamide.

    Certain fruits and vegetables contain usable quantities of kaempferol. Fruit sources include apples, grapes, raspberries, blackberries, and peaches. For vegetables, we’re looking at greens like broccoli, sprouts, green beans, lettuce, spinach, and cucumbers, as well as potatoes, squashes, and tomatoes. You will also find it in decent amounts in green tea.

    You can also get plenty of anandamide precursors in your diet. It’s made from arachidonic acid, which as we have seen is an essential fatty acid. More of it in your diet may lead to an increase in anandamide. You can source arachidonic acid from animal products like meat, fish, and eggs.

    It can also be synthesised from linoleic acid, another common fat. Safflower, sunflower, canola, and olives all contain large amounts of linoleic acid, so cooking with these oils could help to boost your anandamide levels. However, you should handle the first three with caution as they are all pro-inflammatory, which could have drastic long term health consequences. Go light on them. Try to cook with olive oil as much as possible.

    Anandamide Supplements

    Then we come to supplements. There are a few supplements that can help to boost your anandamide levels, many of which can improve your cognitive health and wellbeing more generally in addition.

    Firstly, if you’re worried about your cognitive health and performance, a good quality nootropic supplement may help. There are plenty of good ones out there – NooCube, VyvaMind, Mind Lab Pro, to name just a few.

    I particularly like NooCube, though I have used all three to great effect. Mind Lab Pro is effective, pure, safe, represents great value for money, and works incredibly well. It will sharpen up your thinking, give you greater clarity and more energy, and should bring some quite profound mental health benefits over time.

    Aside from nootropics, there are a few supplements that can directly support use or efficacy of anandamide within your body. 

    Palmitoylethanolamide (or PEA), is a good one. It’s a naturally occurring compound produced by your body to help fight inflammation. It has also been linked with enhanced anandamide activity. Exogenous sources are generally isolated from egg yolk, peanut meal, or soybean lecithin.

    CBD oil can also work well. It’s taken from hemp, though it doesn’t contain THC, the psychoactive ingredient mentioned above – it won’t bind to your cannabinoid receptors to give you a high. You can buy it as a nutritional supplement at most health food stores or online.

    CBD oil works partially by inhibiting FAAH action, allowing for an uptick in anandamide levels.

    Then there is marijuana itself. Do beware, there are some profound side effects associated with marijuana use. Don’t use it if you suffer from any kind of psychiatric disorder or if it’s illegal where you live. Always consult your doctor before using it. However, if you and your doctor deem it safe and appropriate, it should increase your anandamide levels.

    THC binds to your cannabinoid receptors, performing a similar role to anandamide.

    However, it can overdo things. As above, one puff is enough. Even then, it can overpower your cannabinoid receptors. This can make it counterproductive, especially when looking to overcome anxiety – it can greatly increase anxiety.

    About a fifth of us also have less FAAH in general due to our natural genetics. Those with less FAAH tend to be less anxious. They will also tend to benefit from or become addicted to marijuana less than others.

    They are also more inclined to experience a depressive response to cannabis.

    Do also note that in most of the population – certainly in adolescents and younger adults – cannabis use can impair your memory and learning abilities.

    Lifestyle Hacks To Boost Your Anandamide

    It isn’t all about what you eat (or smoke!) It can also be about what you do. Several lifestyle factors have been linked with heightened anandamide levels and efficacy.

    States of heightened focus have been linked with greater anandamide output. At these times, anandamide floods into your brain to keep you hyper directed, alongside certain other mood boosting chemicals like dopamine, serotonin, norepinephrine, and endorphins.

    If you want to boost your mood, find an activity that absorbs you fully. This could be exercise. It could be meditation. Even simple, engrossing tasks like reading or doing jigsaw puzzles can work wonders for happiness and relaxation.

    Try to avoid distracting tasks that force you to switch attention all the time – scrolling on your phone or disappearing down rabbit holes online are prime examples of behaviors to steer well clear of.

    Exercise has benefits beyond concentration. Anyone who has been involved in physical training for some time will know the high you can get from it. This is often attributed to endorphins and dopamine. However, there is increasing evidence that endocannabinoids such as anandamide lie behind this high.

    Exercise will increase levels of anandamide in your bloodstream whilst also making your anandamide receptors far more sensitive.

    Anandamide: The Takeaway

    Anandamide cannot be overlooked if you’re trying to live a happy, calm, healthy lifestyle. You need to pay attention to it if you feel you could benefit from a mood boost – and who couldn’t, really?

    Lifestyle factors play a large role. Exercise, relax, and find things you can focus on. Eat well, including plenty of the foodstuffs mentioned above, and consider supplementing. Supplementation specifically for anandamide and more generally for cognitive health and wellbeing can change your life.

    You should find your mood elevated, your cognitive function improved, and your stress levels greatly diminished when you begin to take notice of anandamide.

    NooCube bottle

    An All Round Cognitive Boost

    NooCube is our no.1 rated nootropic when testing a wide range of supplements linked to cognition and anxiety relief. It should also help to improve anandamide levels thanks to the natural ingredients it contains.

    Read on to find out why anandamide is so important and how you can boost your levels naturally through diet and lifestyle.